Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Letter to Pranab Mukherjee

Mr. President,
On 16/2/2013 you said “Of late, the judiciary has been perceived to have assumed an expanded role… As is inevitable, the courts at times are perceived as having strayed into areas which are best left to the executive or to the policy makers in the legislature. The separation of powers is a constitutional feature over which there has never been any doubt, and should be respected at all times.”
Your words did not have the desired effect. On 20/2/2013 CJI Altamas Kabir said “We have had to force the hand of the executive or legislature. Direct them, when the executive does not provide the relief. It’s not like we like to do that. But we have been given the overall responsibility of making sure that the common man gets justice.” He further said “If there is interference, then it is good interference.”
Mr. President, it is time to assert your authority. You have taken oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. You have a duty to take on people who violate the Constitution. You have to put an end to judicial overreach and undo the damage done by judiciary in the past.
When you reject a mercy petition of a criminal sentenced to death by Supreme Court that should be the last word. However, we see that some people go to High Court or Supreme Court and get a stay on hanging on some excuse. This should not be tolerated. Recently you rejected mercy petitions of four bandits and Supreme Court has stayed the hangings. On 18/2/2013 Supreme Court stayed the execution for two days and on 20/2/2013 extended the stay. This is neither justice for common man, nor good interference. You should issue an order that once you reject a mercy petition it is final, no court has the authority to entertain any petition on it on any ground, and execution shall be carried out without delay. You should issue an order that Supreme Court stay on execution of four bandits is unconstitutional, the bandits shall be hanged. You should issue an order setting aside Supreme Court judgment that restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases and state that death penalty is for all cases of murder, conspiracy to murder, and such crimes. You should issue an order increasing life imprisonment to death penalty in every case where Sessions Court sentenced someone to death and High Court or Supreme Court reduced to life imprisonment. The names of all such convicts should be mentioned in the order and date of hanging set.
A Bench headed by Justice Singhvi on 19/4/2012 reserved its judgment on the question of commuting death sentences to life imprisonment due to the years spent by convicts in prison. Ten months have passed without judgment. You should issue an order stating that stay by that Bench was unconstitutional, the convicts shall be hanged.
You should tell the judiciary to do its job properly and expeditiously. Cases drag on for years. Common man does not get justice. Even fast track courts take years. In Delhi gang rape case fast track court has not given verdict.
You should issue an order setting aside Supreme Court judgment that amended the Constitution, interpreted consultation as consent, and took away the power of the executive to appoint Supreme Court judges and vested it with a collegium of five Supreme Court judges.
You should issue an order setting aside commutations granted to death row convicts by former Presidents since 1980. Those who are out of jail should be brought back and hanged.
You should issue an order stating asking for mercy for someone convicted of waging war against the state is treason and the punishment can be confiscation of property, exile, or death. The names of people who asked for mercy for Ajmal Kasab and punishment for them should be mentioned.
I understand Governors want pension of Rs.25,000/- p.m. and you are sympathetic to them. Do not be sympathetic. Governors are for five years. Pension should not be for service of five years. It should be for lifetime of service. Most of them are former politicians, bureaucrats, generals, judges, or public servants. They get pension. Politicians get pension as former MPs. Others get pension as per their service. There was no provision for pension for MPs. MPs began with a law that gave pension to those who served close to five years. Later they changed it to those who served even for a day. Some politicians after being Governors become ministers again. Sushilkumar Shinde is an example. If Governors get pension, they may demand a free house, car, cook, driver, and so on. Last year two former Lok Sabha Speakers made similar demands.
There was One Billion Rising on 14/2/2013. Women danced against sexual violence. That day three girls were raped and murdered in Bhandara. Those who did that do not deserve to live. The girls were sisters. Tanuja Borkar was 10, Prachi 9, and Priya 6. A mother and widow lost her three daughters in a single day.
On 14/2/2013 Kavita Srivastava on NDTV 24×7 called you a serial killer. Ankita Mukherjee who was the anchor did not contradict her. You should sue her and the channel for 800 crore rupees each. You should sue everyone who defames you for hundreds of crores of rupees. If Arindam Choudhuri of IIPM can sue for 500 crore rupees and block defamatory content in 70 or so sites you can do better.
Mr. President, there is Union Council of Ministers to aid and advise you. You do not have to follow anyone else’s advice. It does not matter whether they are former judges or self-styled women’s rights activists. Some women had to gall to tell you not to sign the ordinance on sex crimes.
Mr. President, when the country was agitated after Delhi gang rape and students came to meet you, too bad and too sad you did not meet them. They faced lathis, water cannons, and tear gas shells. One report said Ahmed Patel, who does not hold any constitutional position and is secretary to Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, told you not to meet the students as it is against protocol. Since you or anyone from your side has not contradicted the report it can be assumed as true. Ahmed Patel is no one to advise you. I understand you do not want to be addressed as Your Excellency. What is the use of simplicity when you refuse to meet students and common people? Don’t be misled by talk of protocol.
On 21/2/2013 there were blasts in Hyderabad. Terrorism continues to be a threat. Showing mercy to murderers is foolishness. Do not succumb to pressure by LADP (lobbies against death penalty).
Mr. President, uphold the Constitution. Take on everyone who does unconstitutional acts. Don’t worry about popularity.
Yours truly,
Vincent Augustine D’Souza

Updated: February 23, 2013 — 7:50 am

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